Given the title you would expect an article about taking your business and going mobile, meaning mobile phones, tablets and other handheld devices. No, this is not one of those tech articles that concerns itself with the ever changing advances in technology. Rather, this is about literally taking your business and going mobile. Physically, going from place to place with your business.
The trend in food over the past decade has been the rise of the food truck. In New York, Chicago and especially Los Angeles, food trucks have become a staple of the American diet. Offering gourmet tastes and menus, food trucks became a convenient way for people to enjoy tacos, burgers and other hearty meals.
Food trucks are everywhere. There seems to be one for all kinds of tastes and national flavors. There are even a couple of reality television shows dedicated to them. The mobile truck idea is beginning to move beyond the food space and into other businesses. In cosmopolitan cities like New York and Los Angeles, fashion trucks are beginning to spring up on the doorsteps of busy working women in the cities. Also seen as a hit at parties, fashion trucks are mobile stores fitted with various outfits for patrons to browse, try on and eventually purchase.
Why are so many mobile franchises popping up everywhere? Signs point to cost. It’s more cost effective to buy a truck and do business out of there than setting up shop at a brick-and-mortar location. At brick-and-mortar locations, you are subject to the same issues business real estate owners run through like property taxes, upkeep, utilities and on top of all that, staffing. Mobile businesses have less upkeep, less staff and can reach the customer rather than the customer having to commute to them.
As attractive and as cost effective this may seem, mobile business do suffer from setbacks. You are subject to traffic and traffic laws. Meaning, you may not get to your destination in time nor get their at all. Thus, you may lose possible and future customers. Also, you are subject to parking laws. Cities have specific laws regarding large vehicles like a food truck. Some allow them and some don’t. You may miss business opportunities due to specific and sometimes arbitrary zoning and parking laws. (Example: the city of Beverly Hills does not allow food trucks in their city for aesthetic reasons). Local brick-and-mortar businesses do not take too kindly to mobile businesses. In theory, mobile businesses are “moving into” another territory without having to play by the same rules. Rules like paying rent, utilities and city and state taxes.
Creating a mobile business whether for food, fashion or other industries is a trendy, fun way to build a business. Online tools like Twitter and Facebook exponentially create buzz for your business and followers will watch your daily movements. But it does come at a price. Much like any business, you must need a plan and be prepared for anything. So if you are the adventurous type who like getting their hands “dirty” along with driving a big “hunk” of machinery, then the truck business is for you.
Image credit: miggslives on Flickr